(LifeSiteNews) — A leading candidate to replace Scotland’s outgoing premier has faced fierce media and party backlash after revealing her Christian views on sex and marriage.
Kate Forbes, the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the rural region of Skye, Lochaber, and Badenoch and the country’s current finance minister, was tipped to take the place of outgoing First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon after her shock resignation last week.
However, Forbes, a member of the traditionalist Free Church of Scotland, soon faced intense scrutiny over her religious background and attending beliefs regarding marriage, sex, and the family. The 32-year-old finance minister previously said she would have voted against same-sex “marriage” legislation, should she have been a parliamentarian in 2014, when the law was changed in Scotland to allow the innovation.
Forbes also pushed back against Sturgeon’s recent Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which proposed granting individuals as young as 16 years old legal recognition as the opposite sex after merely self-identifying as such. The failure of the gender reform bill is thought to have played a significant role in Sturgeon’s decision to leave office.
The top-job-hopeful initially found backing among senior party members, but was soon dropped by many after doubling down in a Tuesday interview on her religious stance against same-sex “marriage,” further stating that “sex is for marriage,” and that a Scottish double rapist who identifies as a woman, Adam “Isla Bryant” Graham, is actually “a man.” The MSP also stated her personal opposition to having an abortion.
While Forbes defended traditional Christian teachings on a slew of moral matters, she stopped short of insisting that she would back revisions in law to protect marriage or, indeed, to stop legal abortion.
In the course of her Tuesday interview with Sky News, Forbes noted that while being personally opposed to gay “marriage” based on her conservative Christian beliefs, she stated that “equal marriage is a legal right” and, as such, she “would respect and defend that democratic choice,” going so far as to characterize anyone who would overturn so-called “equal marriage” laws as “a dictator.”
Likewise she defended legal abortion, despite her personal opposition, saying that though she “could never conceive of having an abortion” herself, nevertheless she had “zero intention or interest in changing the law that allows for other people to have an abortion.”
“I don’t think that any woman goes for an abortion lightly. And those legal provisions exist. And certainly under any leadership that I have, I wouldn’t be changing the law,” she added.
Regarding homosexual acts and conceiving children outside of wedlock, the politician argued that such acts are “wrong, according to my faith,” but that she “couldn’t care less what two consenting adults do in the comfort of their own bedroom… in a free society, you can do whatever you want.”
Furthermore, although pushing back against Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill in its most recent form, Forbes told Sky News that she “would have been far more supportive” had the bill affected only those aged 18 and above.
READ: Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon says resignation had nothing to do with criticism of her transgender agenda
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However, despite clearly stating her unwillingness to revoke legislation in public office which she does not privately support, such as gay “marriage,” simply believing that such unions are illicit has proved enough to merit axing from her colleagues.
Fellow SNP MSP Gillian Martin, who initially backed Forbes, released a statement following the Sky News interview, noting that she no longer supports Forbes’ bid for leadership because of her personal views on marriage.
We must be full throated in our support of equal marriage. No if or buts. I won’t be supporting Kate’s campaign on that basis. I wish her well- she’s extremely talented. But I have red lines. And this is one.
— Gillian Martin (@GillianMSP) February 21, 2023
“We must be full throated in our support of equal marriage. No if or buts. I won’t be supporting Kate’s campaign on that basis. I wish her well – she’s extremely talented. But I have red lines. And this is one,” Martin wrote.
Unequivocal support for homosexual unions soon became the clear litmus test for Forbes’ campaign for the top role in Scottish politics, with many early backers withdrawing support in quick succession after deciding her mere private opposition was a failing grade.
Scotland’s minister for just transition, Richard Lochhead, U-turned on his support for Forbes after her comments on gay “marriage” sparked widespread controversy:
I welcomed my colleague Kate Forbes’ decision to join the SNP leadership contest given her talents & felt it would give us a real contest: new ideas and a new approach that we desperately need. However, I agree we can’t have a Party Leader who’d vote against same sex marriage.
Just hours after voicing support for Forbes, children and young people minister Clare Haughey also backtracked, writing that she “absolutely and completely” supports “equal marriage,” and that consequently she “cannot continue to support Kate’s leadership campaign.”
Others reportedly described Forbes’ campaign as a “car crash” and “sinking fast” after her refusal to back down on her opposition to prevailing cultural beliefs.
Peter Kearney, speaking on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, noted that the sharp critique which has accompanied Forbes’ comments could put people off of entering politics.
“People will believe their views won’t be respected,” Kearney told The Herald. “ We run the risk of denying ourselves people with talent and ability.”
“Human rights law describes certain ‘protected characteristics,’ among them: race, gender and sexual orientation, which cannot be used as a basis for discrimination,” he noted. “It is important that we remember religion is also a protected characteristic, deserving of respect.
Kearney lamented that in the “pursuit of diversity we have embraced conformity. There is absolutely an intolerance of certain types of difference. We are less tolerant of people’s religious orientations. Some of the things that have been said about religious opinions leave a lot of Catholics and a lot of Christians feeling marginalized.”
“It’s difficult to imagine anyone entering politics who didn’t have ‘deeply held views,’ whether they are economic, social, environmental or religious views shouldn’t matter. What matters is that they don’t impose those views on others, but instead respect differences,” he stated.
“If someone was deemed unsuited to office on the basis of any other protected characteristic there would, quite rightly, be outraged and indignant reactions. As a society we will be guilty of hypocrisy if we don’t defend everyone’s right to freely hold, manifest and express their religious beliefs.”
Forbes also found support from the Free Church of Scotland to which she belongs as an active member. A spokesman said that the church is “concerned at the level of anti-Christian intolerance which has been displayed on social media, and by some political and media commentators.”
The spokesman added that it was “lamentable that Kate’s honest adherence to simple traditional values would, for some, disqualify her from contributing to the public good of Scotland.”
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